April 07, 2006

Anarchism In America

MVD and AK Press are pleased to announce the home viewing release of Anarchism in America for worldwide distribution on DVD.

This package contains two fascinating documentaries on one disc. In the first, Anarchism in America, the filmmakers take a road trip to map anarchism as a distinctly American tradition, interviewing a diverse cast of characters: from “ordinary” truckers and farmers to famous anarchists like Kenneth Rexroth and Ursula LeGuin. The second, The Free Voice of Labor, traces the history of the Yiddish anarchist newspaper of that name—publishing its final issue after 87 years—as told by it’s now eldery, but decidedly unbowed staff.

Both documentaries focus on the state of anarchism in America during the early 1980s, with brief looks at the history of anarchist movements. The narration and several of the interviewees imply that anarchism is deeply rooted in American character and tradition, more so than other countries. Students of anarchism will enjoy the interviews with prominent anarchist writers like Murray Bookchin and Karl Hess. Given the hostile split in anarchism between "right" (free-market) and "left" (socialist) anarchists, each claiming that the other faction doesn't deserve to be called "anarchist," it is gratifying to see this documentary treating both philosophies as equally valid, and indeed not so far off from each other. Many anarchists of both "right" and "left" persuasions will be shocked to hear Hess (a former speechwriter for Barry Goldwater!) favorably compare Emma Goldman with Ayn Rand, or hear him claim that anarchism embodies what he had always thought the Republican Party stood for.

In addition to interviews and photographic history, there is footage of demonstrations, worker-owned businesses, and Thoreauvian independent farms. The punk-rock scene is represented by the Dead Kennedys, who give an interview and perform. There is even footage from a Libertarian Party convention (with special guest Murray Bookchin), even though the official Party position has always maintained that government should be minimized, not eliminated.
Steven Fishler and Joel Sucher, since studying with Martin Scorsese in 1969, have been making Emmy and Guggenheim award-winning non-fiction films that explore American social history.

Downloadable Press Release: http://mvdb2b.com/downloads/pressreleases/AKV006.doc

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